Lufthansa cashing in on growth

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:00am

Lufthansa's mainland air-cargo operations are showing double-digit growth and the trend is expected to continue into next year.

Airline officials said Lufthansa Cargo would next month add a freighter to its China-Germany service and raise prices between 8 and 10 per cent as a result of the strong demand.

'We will have a third freighter next month,' said a member of the executive board for the airline's cargo operations, Andreas Otto.

He said the third Lufthansa freighter, a Boeing 747, would bolster the freight service which includes three freighters operated jointly with Air China and cargo space on 10 weekly passenger flights.

Cargo volumes rose about 20 per cent in the overall Shanghai market in the first half and the airline's own cargo business surpassed that growth, officials said.

The sharp rise covered both inbound and outbound growth.

General manager for sales in China Frank Naeve said: 'We see no reason for that to stop this year.'

Asia has become the largest market for Lufthansa's cargo operations and China has been driving regional growth.

Moreover, there has been a shift to higher-value goods as the high-technology industries, such as mobile phones and laptop computers, take hold in the Shanghai area.

Officials also said Lufthansa would be eager to team up with domestic airline partners and was looking for other opportunities. There were no such deals on the table at the moment.

Air China has already said it planned to turn its cargo operations into a separate unit and it would be offering a combined 49 per cent to the Beijing Airport Authority and Hong Kong investors.

While there is no chance to take a stake in that operation at this moment, the Lufthansa officials made it clear they would be interested in taking a stake if additional equity sales were made after a further liberalisation of the market.

Lufthansa has 24 per cent of the cargo terminal at Shanghai's Pudong airport and says its operations are 'extremely good'.